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Happy International Customs Day from JAS USA

The JAS USA Customs Compliance Team Reflects on 2021

Laurie Arnold
January 26, 2022

Happy International Customs Day!  

2021 has been a year with a newfound focus on the international supply chain. With the backlogs in the shipping industry being on the news headlines, suddenly, our industry has become an everyday topic. Many people had never heard of a freight forwarder or a customs broker a year ago and certainly didn't understand what the jobs entailed. Now they have a better idea.  

In addition to the usual challenges customs brokers face, 2021 brought some new issues to the forefront. While these issues have made customs more complex, the team has been able to help customers navigate the many new rules and regulations. Some of these changes included withholding release orders on cotton products from the Uyghur region, the 301 tariff exclusions expiring, GSP not being in place, and several new AD/CVD orders.  

The withhold release orders have presented issues customs brokers have rarely ever dealt with. CBP will issue a WRO on certain goods, and the importer must then be able to prove the imported goods were not sourced from forced labor. This has proved to be both time-consuming and challenging. Most importers have struggled to provide enough proof, leading to their goods being seized or exported. JAS has worked alongside importers to find solutions when they have held their products. Sometimes this involves requesting products not made of cotton be separated from other goods. Other times we were able to assist in exporting products refused entry.

The expiration of the 301 exclusions beginning Jan 1, 2021, meant that importers who had the exclusions were now going to incur an additional 25% in most cases for their products. A cost that importers must now figure out how to pay. Along with this, GSP and MTB are still expired so the duty keeps adding up. As customs brokers, we have worked with many importers to verify their HTS classification.  

How else has JAS helped with these issues? Information is key, and JAS has kept a steady stream of client advisories and monthly newsletters coming. In addition, the JAS Customs Compliance Team has provided reports and training on duty outlays and how to take advantage of the periodic monthly statement duty process. Having the information to plan and determine the next steps is very important to importers.  

One of the priority trade issues from the Department of Commerce is antidumping and countervailing duties. The DOC works to remedy when imported merchandise is sold in the U.S. at an unfairly low or subsidized price to help level the playing field. The team has guided many importers through the many AD/CVD orders that have been issued and helped them determine if their product falls within the scope or not.  

While these changes have been complex, we appreciate our customs compliance teams efforts as they have guided our customers through the new rules and regulations. We are passionate about providing our customers with best-in-class service and are confident that our people make the difference.

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What advice would you give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to believe in yourself and be confident: Don’t let others opinions define who you are. Take them into consideration, make some adjustments and go for it.

How have female mentors/role models influenced your career?

I was lucky to work with amazing male and female colleagues in all stages of my career and believe that a respectful and open-minded work environment inspired me most. The book of former PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi “My Life in Full, Work, Familiy and our Future” is a great read about how purposeful leadership can drive corporate transformation forward.” Working with many inspiring women at JAS, I am already impressed by the openness and diversity of our organization; and the results we can achieve together.

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Leading sustainability at JAS allows me to work with logistics experts from different cultures, regions and functions. In my first months, I experienced great commitment, work ethics and openness to new ideas, from our frontline workers to the management board. People really make the difference - I am proud to be part of the team.

How do you #EmbraceEquity?

Embracing Equity is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Diversity, Equality and Inclusion are driving both my personal and professional life. I am personally convinced that diverse teams perform better and bring value and growth to every company.

In your opinion, why is it important that more women pursue careers in the industry in the future?

The right time for women to pursue a career in logistics is now: With the growing importance of supply chain management, our sector is driving growth, innovations and sustainability transformation forward. Opportunities in the industry will continue to grow: The demand for analytical thinkers and innovative problem-solvers in freight forwarding is rising.

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JAS, the Bruni Foundation, and charity: water are committed to making a difference in the lives of those affected by the global water crisis. The first phase of the partnership will deploy a $100,200 gift from the Bruni Foundation, which will fully fund two clean and safe water projects in India and Mozambique.

In Mozambique, this partnership will fund new community wells and handpumps across provinces in the Northeast of Mozambique and provide access to clean and safe water for more than 800 people. In India, the funds will support rainwater harvesting in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, Western India, helping to provide clean and safe water access to over 250 people.

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What advice would you give your younger self?

“I would tell my younger self to be fearless and to worry less about what people think of you. Be confident in your capabilities and open to learning new things every day. Believe in your power.”

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“Sheryl Sandberg former Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, wrote a great book called “Lean In.” It is a very inspiring piece of work that every female leader needs to read.”

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“I began my career at JAS as a Country Operations Manager. Over the years, I found a way to respectfully open doors, and I became the first female Managing Director at JAS. I am proud to be leading my country and making it a successful subsidiary by building a winning team on the local level and helping the company grow within the market.”

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